You Need to be in Church

January 2, 2013

You Need to be in Church

            It’s unfortunate that there are many who claim to be Christians, but they don’t see the need of being active in a local church.  There are some who are members of a church but they don’t attend regularly.  Others aren’t even members.

Theologians tell us that we are in what is called “the church age.” The church age includes two important Biblical truths.  One is that God is presently forming his body which is sometimes called the church.  We read about this in Ephesians 5:30-32.

The second meaning of the church age is that God is presently doing his work in the world by means of local churches.  In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus left his disciples with what is often called “the great commission.” “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Just a few days after he gave this commission he went to heaven.  How did his disciples carry out this commandment?  In the book of Acts we find his disciples occupied in starting churches.  Acts 2:41 says, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Some may say “Ah, but it doesn’t say they were added to the church.” But go on reading through verse 47.  There it says, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

In I Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul wrote that we should know how we should behave ourselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  The people in the church should be valiant defenders of the truth of the Bible.  It is being twisted and used to teach what the Bible doesn’t teach.  To be good defenders of the Bible we need to have a good knowledge of what it says.

The local church should also be involved in spreading the good news of salvation to everyone in the community. It’s God’s plan that all his people be his witnesses.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” There are many ways of spreading the gospel.  Churches can organize methods of witnessing to their community. We can do that by passing out gospel tracts to people we meet.  We can also do it by going door to door, making a friendly visit, leaving some literature, and giving them a cordial invitation to visit the church.

Our first priority should be that of encouraging people to put their faith and trust in Christ for salvation.  As soon as they do, we should strongly urge them to be a part of a local church.  New believers need the nurture and encouragement of a local church.  It they aren’t attending a good church faithfully it’s doubtful that they will make much spiritual growth.

Some think they can stay at home and listen to Christian radio or watch church services on television.  There is nothing wrong with Christian radio and television, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for church because it’s impersonal.  You need fellowship with other believers.  Your local church is like an extended family.

A good local church offers us what the Bible calls “fellowship.” I John 1:3 says, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”  A few weeks ago we attended a funeral for a man who passed away.  He and his wife were faithful members of a good local church.  Their church did a great service in providing for the bereaved.  They provided a dinner for everyone after the funeral.  Some of the members opened their homes to provide accommodations for out of town relatives.  The lady who lost her husband was surrounded by loving, caring people who gave her comfort and strength. I’m sure they went on caring for her needs in the days and weeks after the funeral.  How unfortunate are those who lose a loved one and don’t have the comfort and support of a good local church.

In Hebrews 10:24-25 the Bible exhorts us with these words “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” God knows that his people need the fellowship of other believers.  If you aren’t attending faithfully a good local church you are denying yourself of something that God has graciously provided for you.

The local church has a teaching ministry.  Ephesians 4:11-13 says “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:    Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”  All believers have one or more gifts.  These are talents with which we can serve others.  We read about them in Romans 12:5-8.   “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;    Or ministry, letus wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;    Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation:   he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”  God also wants us to be fruitful.  By means of our gifts we can do that.  John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

If you are a child of God then it’s his will that you attend and participate in a local church.  You need the church and the church needs you.  You are out of place until you find your place in a good church.  Don’t choose just any church.  Look for one that seeks to teach and apply the truths of the Bible.  Don’t expect to find a perfect church.  There aren’t any.  As someone once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join it because it won’t be perfect after that.” If you aren’t already attending a good church may God help you find one and take an active part of it.


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